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I honestly think we can beat any team on our schedule," men's lacrosse midfielder Perry Dodge said.
The Baltimore Sun agreed, ranking the Crimson 11th in the nation in its preseason poll.
"Then again, I think any team on our schedule can beat us," Dodge added.
And sure enough, Newsday agreed, predicting that Harvard will finish in fifth place in the Ivy League.
Parity--the great leveller.
It pervaded major league baseball in the late 1970s. The NFL and NHL succumbed to it this decade. And college lacrosse is its next victim.
"There is tremendous parity in the Ivy League this year," said Harvard Coach Scott Johnson, who led the Crimson to an 11-3 record and an NCAA tournament berth in his coaching debut last year. "There are more good teams than ever before."
The Crimson is one of them. With returning starters at every attack and midfield position, and the return of All-America Chris Garvey after a year away from the squad, the Crimson should be able to mount a strong challenge to traditional powers Penn and Cornell for the Ivy title.
The Crimson will rely heavily on Ivy Rookie of the Year Mickey Cavuoti for scoring punch, but Anderson is also expecting attackmen David Kramer, Brad Raymond and Co-Captain Steve Lux to put the ball in the net.
"Mickey is obviously the most talented [player], but all of them have the potential to score," Anderson said. "They have to play unselfishly, moving the ball around and sharing the scoring load."
Cavuoti, an honorable mention All-America in his freshman year, will probably draw the league's top defenders and "hatchetmen" this season. However, Garvey's return to an already strong midfield featuring Dodge and Co-Captain Robert Griffith should provide the short-stickers with a new dimension on attack.
"Chris is a really solid player," Cavuoti said. "Our cutting and feeding was really lacking last year--we became a one-on-one team. Chris should put some motion back into the offense."
The defense and goaltending, decimated by graduation, will be Anderson's chief concerns. Replacing first team All-Ivy starters Bill Pennoyer on defense and Mike Bergmann in goal will not be an easy task.
The brunt of the pressure will fall on the shoulders of freshman netminder Chris Miller. The Westfield, N.J., native is likely to face a barrage of shots this season after the loss of four senior long-stickers.
"[Miller] has been working very hard and he's got the talent, but he just hasn't had enough time to adjust to college shooting," Anderson said.
"I'll try to do my best and forget about the pressure," Miller said. "People have been saying that you can't be a freshman in goal, with the guys all relying on you behind the defense. You've got to come across as confident."
Anchoring the defense will be Michael Murphy, Andy Barnard, Peter Long and former midfielder Chris Bentley. Three freshmen--David Murphy (Michael's brother), Michael Kramer (David's brother) and Peter Welch--will also get a lot of playing time on this inexperienced unit.
"Last year, we started with the premise that our defense was strong enough to keep us in the game until our offense got untracked," Anderson said. "This year, with our experienced leadership on offense, we're going to have to score some goals."
The defense had an auspicious start on Saturday, as Miller's 12 saves paced a 8-4 early-season victory over C.W. Post. The "experienced leadership on offense" came through as well, with Griffith, Cavuoti and Garvey scoring two goals each.
Experienced leadership notwith standing, it has been the underclassmen who have led the team Coach: Scott Anderson Captains: Robert Griffith, Steve Lux Last Year: (11-4, 4-2) 1989 Record: (1-0, 0-0) Home Games: Soldier's Field The Schedule
March Sat, 18 at Cornell 1:00 p.m. Wed, 22 at College 7:00 p.m. Sat, 25 ARMY 1:00 p.m.
April Sat, 1 PENNSYLVANIA 1:00 p.m. Wed, 5 at Vermont 3:00 p.m. Wed, 12 at St, John's 3:30 p.m. Sat, 15 at Adelphi 2:00 p.m. Wed, 19 BROWN 3:00 p.m. Sat, 22 at Princeton 2:00 p.m. Wed, 26 MASSACHUSETTS 3:00 p.m. Sat, 29 YALE 2:00 p.m.
May Wed, 3 NEW HAMPSHIRE 3:00 p.m. Sat, 13 at Dartmouth 1:00 p.m. in another long-standing Harvard lacrossetradition: the preseason crewcut.
"The freshmen and sophomores have been goodabout it," Griffith said. "The seniors are goingon job interviews. We're looking for the juniorclass to come through. I think they might beslacking a bit."
A little class conflict on the squad? Notreally, according to Anderson.
"I like it. They're trying to reinforce thatthey care enough about lacrosse to make an effort.It's contagious," he said.
But what about you, coach?
"I'll think about it."
Aw, Coach. You said you liked it. AssistantCoach Tim Pendergast did it. Come on, everyone'sdoing it.
"I guess if they win their first four or five,I might," Anderson admitted.
If the Crimson cannot repeat last year'ssuccess, no one can claim it's because of lack ofincentive
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